Karen Garcia came to this country from Mexico with her parents when she was just three years old.

She is now in her first year at Suffolk County Community college on Long Island.

"I had to pay out of pocket my first semester, and it’s something that would not have been sustainable for the next four years," Garcia said.

With the DREAM Act, students, including Karen, who are undocumented can gain access to state financial assistance to attend college.

For the last several years, the DREAM Act was blocked by state Senate Republicans who are no longer in control of the chamber.

"For years, the Assembly majority has committed to putting families and students first,” Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie said. “Today we will pass the DREAM Act for the ninth and final time.”

The DREAM Act was named after former State Sen. Jose Peralta, who died in November. Peralta was the Senate sponsor of the bill. His widow, Evelyn, was in Albany on Wednesday to see it pass.

“To every young immigrant hearing my words, we love you. We see you,” Evelyn Peralta said. “And we welcome you into our American family. The spirit of my husband is alive in this room today.”

Critics say the DREAM Act leaves out working class New Yorkers who need to take out loans to attend college.

“To give tuition assistance and free tuition to individuals who are in our country unlawfully when we have middle class families -- both citizens and legal residents who are struggling with a tremendous amount of debt or working multiple jobs to pay for college -- is really misguided and unfair to the taxpayers of this state,” Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis said.

The Senate also passed a bill making the two percent cap on property taxes permanent. Insiders say it was aimed at giving cover to suburban Democrats who voted for the DREAM Act, which may not be popular in their districts. The property tax bill did not pass the Assembly.